Francis Ford Coppola’s Long-Awaited New Film “Megalopolis” Screens for First Time

One of the greatest directors of all time has finally revealed his decades-long passion project.

Francis Ford Coppola screened Megalopolis at the Universal CityWalk IMAX Theater in Los Angeles for a host of potential buyers and distributors, as well as a starry crowd of fellow filmmakers that included Andy Garcia, Al Pacino, Colleen Camp, Talia Shire, Nicolas Cage, Angelica Huston, Spike Jonze, Jon Favreau, Darren Aronofsky, Cailee Spaeny, and Roger Corman.

Megalopolis has been 20 years in the making, and what’s known about the film (as detailed in Deadline‘s story) is that Coppola has taken nothing off his fastball. Coppola’s latest is centered on the competing visions of the future of the titular city after a catastrophe, which offers a chance for inspired renewal or business-as-usual stagnation. On the renewal side of the equation is the architectural idealist Cesar (Adam Driver), who dreams of remaking the city with renewable materials and creating a modern utopia. His dream-big persona and belief in the ingenuity and potential of human beings mirrors the director’s. His opposite is Mayor Frank Cicero (Giancarlo Esposito), who wants to rebuild the city using the same old methods, including graft and corruption, delivering yet more inequity and pollution and essentially trading on the worst in human nature. Caught between them is the mayor’s daughter, Julia (Nathalie Emmanuel), a woman used to power players vying for supremacy and one who is looking for something real in her life.

Joining Driver, Esposito, and Emmanuel in the cast are Aubrey Plaza, Laurence Fishburne, Jon Voight, Chloe Fineman, Kathryn Hunter, Dustin Hoffman, Shia LaBeouf, D.B., Sweeney, Jason Schwartzman, Baily Ives, Grace Vanderwaal and James Remar. 

“Coppola delivers a big kiss to the possibilities of mankind’s ingenuity to adapt to and overcome most problems,” writes Deadline‘s Mike Fleming. “He also injects a cautionary tale of what can happen when that rise to the occasion human spirit runs afoul of the greed, corruption, and narcissism that helped topple the Roman Empire. The clash could not be more timely in an election year and a moment of heightened polarization and misinformation meant to spread agendas, sway the public, and influence policy.”

The crowd included studio heads like Sony Pictures chairman Tom Rothman, Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos, Universal Pictures Chairwoman Donna Langley, Amazon Studios and MGM Head of Film Courtenay Valenti, and producers Mary Parent and Pamela Abdy. By the time the credits rolled, it was Coppola’s sister, Talia Shire, who embraced him and said, “You did it.”

Now we wait to find out where Megalopolis will end up. The festival circuit is set to start soon, with Cannes beginning on Tuesday, May 14, the place where Coppola showed the film that changed his career, Apocalypse Now, as a work in progress and ended up sharing the Palme d’Or. Apocalypse Now changed Coppola’s life because he financed the film and owned it, betting big on himself and setting the template for his approach to filmmaking ever after. The bet paid off. Coppola financed Megalopolis himself and has gotten it nearly across the finish line after writing, re-writing, shelving it after 9/11, reviving it, securing the financing, and then losing 75 pounds to keep himself fit for the shoot. At 84 years old, Coppola isn’t ready to retire.

“One way I knew Megalopolis was finished is that I’ve begun work on a new film,” he told Deadline‘s Mike Fleming. 

For more stories on filmmakers and their latest projects, check these out:

From “SNL” to the Director’s Chair: Julio Torres Lights Up With “Problemista”

“Shōgun” Score: Atticus Ross & Co Meld Ancient Soul to Modern Tech

“Dune: Part Two” Cinematographer Greig Fraser on Finding Clarity in Chaos

Featured image: LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – MARCH 21: Francis Ford Coppola speaks onstage during the “The Godfather” Screening at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures on March 21, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images)


The Credits

The Credits is an online magazine that tells the story behind the story to celebrate our large and diverse creative community. Focusing on profiles of below-the-line filmmakers, The Credits celebrates the often uncelebrated individuals who are indispensable to the films and TV shows we love.

The Credits

Keep up with The Credits for the latest in film, television, and streaming.

If you are a California resident, California law may consider certain disclosures of data a “sale” of your personal information (such as cookies that help Motion Picture Association later serve you ads, like we discuss in our Privacy Policy here), and may give you the right to opt out. If you wish to opt out, please click here: